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04 January 2009 @ 06:45 pm
the long-awaited (?) bias tape guide  
Some people have been asking me about the bias tape stuff, so instead of linking a bunch of pictures and trying to explain in IM windows over and over again, I decided to just write it up in a LJ entry so everyone can access it freely whenever. I'm not perfect at bias tape by far (and I know there are some of you on here who are way better at it than me, haha), but if there's any way I can help people use it more efficiently, then I'd like to do that.

There are plenty of easily found explanations on the internet as to what it is, how it is used, etc etc so I won't go into it in depth here. It's basically a strip of fabric that's cut on the bias (diagonal) of your fabric. You can buy it in packages, but it's cheaper + more efficient to make your own (and you have a lot better color selection, too). If you're in a pinch you can cut it not on the bias, but it might not be as stretchy (so don't do this if your fabric has a lot of curves, or you'll be in trouble). The stretch in bias tape lets you bind curves with ease, especially when used in conjuction with an iron + steam.


How to join bias tape together

oh no!! I have 25 more yards of binding to do! however will I join my millions of feet of bias tape together!?

well, first, open it up.

lay them across each other like so. if you're making your own bias tape, you might want to join your strips before you iron the folds in so you don't have to deal with your folds trying to flop everywhere.

sew across at an angle.


clip and press the seam allowance.

insert triumphant zelda music here. (da da DA DAAAAAAAAAAAAAH....yeah, that one)

great! now you have 100 yards of bias tape. how do you attach it?

quick attach method
pros: fast
cons: requires a bit of precision, visible stitching

open up your bias tape and stitch along the fold line.

you can then use the stitching visible on the back from what you just did as a guideline for stitching it down.

this lets you precisely nail it on the back...

...as well as the front.

stitch in the ditch method

unlike the above method, which is best used with bias tape that is exactly even on both sides of the fold, stitch in the ditch requires one side of your bias tape to be slightly longer than the other. if you're buying pre-packaged bias tape, it will come like this. if you're making your own, be sure to keep it in mind as your press your folds in.

making sure to put the side with tiny fold along the edge of your fabric, stitch it down. you should also ignore what I'm doing in the picture and align it with the very edge of your fabric, not off to the side (was tired when I did this set of pictures). if you do accidentally do it like the above, you can just clip the edge of your fabric to meet with the bias tape edge, if you can afford to lose a bit off the edge.

fold the bias tape over to the back side.

flip it over to the front. stitch as close as you can just to the side of the bias tape on the front, which will catch the bias tape underneath (since it's longer).

it'll look like this on the front. I used contrasting stitching to demonstrate, but when you're matching the thread to your fabric, it will give your bias tape the illusion of being miraculously attached.

it'll also be securely attached in the back.

That should do it! Please let me know if you have any questions/comments. This took a while to writeup, so I hope it's helpful!

edit: just realized I forgot to do an example of an invisible inner corner. I'll add that later.
Current Mood: nerdynerdy
Current Music: pursuing my true self - persona 4
メラ~女薇~: Tamakistarlitrose on January 5th, 2009 12:09 am (UTC)
This is super helpful! I will be using this while trying to get used to the tape I bought. I will probably have questions with how to do things like corners with the piping, but this is wonderful. ♥ Thanks a bunch!
ryuuraigeki: cuteryuuraigeki on January 5th, 2009 02:11 am (UTC)
piping's a lot easier luckily, ahah. glad it's of use!
Canadian on Strike: Lulu - WHAT A TWEESTangathol on January 5th, 2009 12:18 am (UTC)

This will save my life when it comes to Geass cosplay.
ryuuraigeki: cuteryuuraigeki on January 5th, 2009 02:12 am (UTC)
Geass also loves the bias tape vomit.

(I'm looking at you, pope Lulu.)
(Deleted comment)
ryuuraigeki: :3~ryuuraigeki on January 5th, 2009 02:12 am (UTC)
no problem! :D
Lynrose_of_pain on January 5th, 2009 01:06 am (UTC)
Oh wow, I would've never thought of any of these methods. Curious to know where you learned them from. Did you take a class? As I'm always trying to figure out where exactly is the best place to learn better methods as I just feel like my sewing skills are not where they should be. Though I have noticed places all seem to have different methods depending on what the intention of the piece is. 'Cause like my Mom shows me things that she was taught for home based things and then at the theaters I'm showed different methods and then I see other people I know use even completely different things. And well never sure which to actually go with in the end. lol

But huh I never thought about using stitch in the ditch for bias tape. Makes a lot of sense! May try that some time.

ryuuraigeki: :3~ryuuraigeki on January 5th, 2009 02:44 am (UTC)
hmmm, well, most of it I figured out by sitting down and poking at the bias tape. it's a problem solving situation, you know? fold it in my hands and see that the corner needs to fold somehow. I can fold it on top, or I can find a way to have a seam underneath holding it for me. from there, it's a matter of figuring out what folds and steps work for installing it. I did read a book recently that added one final step to the corners that finally cemented the process, so that was really helpful as well.
I think the best way to increase your sewing knowledge (aside from harassing those better at sewing than you, which is another fantastic absorption method I employ whenever I can) is really just to read. and to answer your question: no, I haven't taken a sewing class. Threads is a magazine that comes out monthly that has a million awesome sewing tips in it; a lot of it's written by people who have attended or teach at FIT, or work in the fashion industry, so there's all sorts of interesting articles and sewing tutorials inside. Some of it's more haute couture focused, but you never know when knowing apparently esoteric knowledge will let you add a stylish technique to your costume's design, you know?

Also raid your library. I've been mauling the columbus area's sewing section since I moved here, and I read all the magazines and books (sewing 101, book on skirt drafting, vogue's sewing, etc) at work on my breaks/lunches. read read read. read home dec books, read skirt books, read anything sewing related. (the book that had the bias tape tip that helped me so much was actually a book that focused more on home decorating and slipcovers.) styles and projects may change, but techniques are universal. so no, you don't need a class to learn how to sew :D although I'd totally love to take a sewing class, don't get me wrong, ahah.

As for whatever's correct, just think about what a) will look the best/have the least amount of stitching showing b) will be the most durable way of doing it. if it looks good and wears well, chances are it's aaaaaall right~
Lisadyxlisa on January 5th, 2009 01:08 am (UTC)
...this...is like magic to me!! I had always been completely dumbfounded as to how to do corners (as well as just bias tape in general orz) I don't think I'll totally understand this process until I actually do it with my own hands, but I'll totally be referring back to this post when I do. Thank you so much!! ♥ ♥ ♥

-formerly lithele
ryuuraigeki: snowryuuraigeki on January 5th, 2009 02:47 am (UTC)
I think a lot of people have trouble with it, so I wanted to help if I could~ it's definitely something that you have to do to understand, so hopefully the pictures will help. (every time I try to explain it over IM with just text it fails miserably, LOL.)
(no subject) - dyxlisa on January 5th, 2009 03:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
Miyabi VonSexypantstalianthala on January 5th, 2009 01:17 am (UTC)
You be a sewing goddess! ^_^
I think this needs to be spammed at every Trinity Blood community ever..lol
ryuuraigeki: depressedryuuraigeki on January 5th, 2009 02:48 am (UTC)
lies >:
I've been thinking about posting it to like, the cosplay community or coscom or something when it's finished, just so it can help more people. I guess I'm a bit nervous, though!
(no subject) - talianthala on January 5th, 2009 03:45 am (UTC) (Expand)
Sander Fucking Cohen: Happy Captain Tight Pantschibik3r0 on January 5th, 2009 01:22 am (UTC)
WOO *adds to memories for handiness*
ryuuraigeki: :Dryuuraigeki on January 5th, 2009 02:53 am (UTC)
Super Secret Adventuring Persondarthmarysue on January 5th, 2009 01:36 am (UTC)
That's a really, really useful guide, and awesome of you to take the time to make it. YOU WILL RULE THE WORLD THROUGH BIAS TAPE!!!
Alex: Freeza's Powerglayish on January 5th, 2009 02:20 am (UTC)
omg HOT
Phoenix: NC - Give Me a Kisspho3nix on January 5th, 2009 02:22 am (UTC)
I still remember you showing the exact few pictures with the red bias tape when I was having a bias tape melt down a while back XD. Thank you, this is super helpful.
ryuuraigeki: snowryuuraigeki on January 5th, 2009 02:52 am (UTC)
hahahah yeah I was too lazy to re-take those. :P some I stole off of my panel from CCC, which is why the old sewing machine is in those too XD
Cora: Axel Cosplayjade_fragment on January 5th, 2009 02:42 am (UTC)
great tutorial~
ryuuraigeki: :Dryuuraigeki on January 5th, 2009 02:53 am (UTC)
Demyx: fangirl squeecrimsommist on January 5th, 2009 03:04 am (UTC)
Awesome tutorial! I'm not sure if anyone said it already, but you should post this on coscom~
ryuuraigeki: depressedryuuraigeki on January 5th, 2009 03:07 am (UTC)
do you think I should? I guess I keep worrying some fashion design major is going to look at it and go "THAT'S NOT RIGHT!!", or something.
(no subject) - crimsommist on January 5th, 2009 03:12 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ryuuraigeki on January 5th, 2009 03:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
Sakura_Kinomoto: sebastian -sparklessakurak on January 5th, 2009 03:45 am (UTC)
Everyone and their mom has beat me in commenting but still wanted to say that it's super awesome and thanks for making it! :D
ryuuraigeki: :Dryuuraigeki on January 5th, 2009 04:06 am (UTC)
no problem! I hope it's of some use!
The Jerk Squad: It hurts so goodwhitehaiku on January 5th, 2009 08:50 am (UTC)
um.... boobs!
ryuuraigeki: o_oryuuraigeki on January 5th, 2009 06:04 pm (UTC)
Zal: WHOAzalora on August 5th, 2009 08:20 am (UTC)
OH MAN! Why did I find this AFTER I needed it?!!?
ryuuraigeki: collapseryuuraigeki on August 5th, 2009 08:29 am (UTC)
awww, I'm sorry! at least you know it for the future...?